I'll defer to this question by NDP MP Dawn Black, because it sums it up nicely:
"The government has said over and over again that the underpinning of this mission was to defend women's rights and to provide education for girls," Black said. "Mr. Speaker, after all the sacrifices, after all that Canadian families have put on the line, could this really end up being what we're fighting for in Afghanistan?"
What we are seeing now is so offensive, it really deserves a total re-think of this mission. Never mind 2011, what's the point in 2009, if this is where Afghanistan is headed? State sanctioned rape, with a dash of legislated slavery is the antithesis of everything we supposedly "fight" for, our moral impetus. I understand that everyone is outraged, and I have little doubt the enormous pressure put on the Karzai government will eventually bring a retreat, but the mere contemplation is enough to consider that continuation is futile.
Ignatieff responded with scorn, but my quibble is this assertion:
"I don’t think it calls into question what our troops are doing."
To be fair, I understand that statement, and it's important to separate this issue from the larger point. However, I actually do think this sort of development completely and utterly undermines one of the last remaining justifications for "what our troops are doing". In fact, it would appear that Afghanistan is slowly heading back to some sort of Taliban rule, that drift will erode all the supposed "gains" our presence has brought.
Nobody, particularly a public figure, wants to entertain the notion that people have died in vain, and the reasons for that lack of sober recognition are obvious. That said, it is becoming crystal clear, over these weeks and months, that our soldiers are pretty much spinning their wheels in their own blood, while the "enemy" concurrently tightens it's grip and gains measures of legitimacy. What's the point? What exactly are we doing, and is misguided patriotism clouding some hard realities?